November 26, 1999 NPR's Deborah George tells us the story of pioneering radio evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. She was among the first to take her preaching to the radio, bringing innovative ideas to the airwaves. In the first half of this century she was a celebrity of the first order, listened to by movie stars and common folk. She was a striking stage presence who used humor and song to make her message heard. In the first of these two segments, we hear from the movie actor Anthony Quinn who played saxophone at her rallies as a boy in East Los Angeles. He tells us he learned a lot of his stage presence from her -- using pauses and staring at the audience to get attention. We learn how scandal rocked her life. McPherson vanished at Venice Beach and turned up a month later in a Mexican border town with a strange story that few believed. There were rumors she had been seen in a love nest with a married man in California. This shadow over her Godliness was compounded during the stock market crash of 1929 by money woes and family arguments over money. She died in 1944 at age 54, long after her heyday ended.
November 19, 1999 Art Chimes had a single TV sound obsession: a satirical TV show on NBC from 1964-65 called "That Was The Week That Was" (TW3), which introduced David Frost to American viewers. The show's sharp wit caught Chimes' fancy as a teenager in New Jersey. The most striking thing about the show was the opening song sung by Nancy Ames, which contained all the week's news. Chimes says the show was a smart viewing choice in days of clownish variety shows.
November 19, 1999 Our year-long series visits a man obsessed with the sound of TV. Phil Gries started recording audio from his television set in the 1950s. He still has over 10-thousand items, and has turned his hobby into a business -- supplying audio from old TV shows to other collectors and museums. He says he was motivated by the ethereal nature of live TV to preserve broadcasts of all sorts.
November 12, 1999 As many as 3,000 "mental hygiene" films were shown in schools in the years after the Second World War. They provide lessons about dating, manners and delinquency, all wrapped up in a tidy 10-minute package. Lost and Found Sound got a tour through these films from author Ken Smith.
November 12, 1999 The years just after the Second World War saw the advent of a new genre of classroom films: "social guidance" or "attitude enhancement" films -- we'll call them "mental hygiene" films. Young people in schools across America saw films with titles like "Dating Dos and Don'ts," "Mind Your Manners," "Are You Popular?" and, "Narcotics: Pit of Despair." Topics included table manners, etiquette, fitting in, posture, dating, highway safety, substance abuse, and juvenile delinquency. They were tools of social engineering, made to shape the values and attitudes of an entire generation of American kids. More than three-thousand of these films were made over nearly three decades. Now, fewer than half of them survive. Ken Smith has written a new book called "Mental Hygiene: Classroom Films, 1945-1970". He'll be our tour guide through this Lost and Found Sound report on this funny, fascinating, and largely forgotten genre of American filmmaking.
October 29, 1999 A story about radio station WHER in Memphis, billed as the first "All-Girl Radio Station" in the nation. It was started by Sam Phillips of Sun Studio fame in 1955 - just after he sold Elvis Presley's contract to Colonel Parker. Phillips gave women a chance to work both on the air, and in the sales department. It lasted 17-years. Independent producers Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson located 14 of the 40 women who worked at WHER.
October 22, 1999 Our series Lost & Found Sound remembers the explosion of transistors radios for the first time in the early 1960s. Washington lawyer Jonathan Cuneo recalls how every kid had to have one when they first became small enough to carry around in a pocket. With portable radios, sports like the World Series could be listened to in school - and on the school bus ride home. Cuneo tells how the final game of the 1960 World Series was a highlight of his life -- thanks to his transistor and where he heard the game.
October 15, 1999 Larry Massett reports on the strangest Presidential phone call of all time. Lyndon Johnson talks to astronaut Scott Carpenter while Carpenter is breathing helium-enriched atmosphere. Carpenter was decompressing from 30 days under the sea.
October 8, 1999 Eighty-five-year-old Don Hunter plays us a few of his acoustic "trophies" from a lifetime of recording the sounds of his Pacific Northwest. The Eugene, Oregon man has been making stereo recordings of his region since the late 1950s -- and has been interested in sound since he was a boy. We hear a "planer," fog horns and a Douglas Fir being cut down.
October 1, 1999 In this week's installment of "Lost and Found Sound," Quest for Sound curator Jay Allison presents audio found by a listener in Newton Massachusetts. David Gullette found the disk at a flea market. It turned out to include the recorded voice of one of this country's most important broadcast producers at a young age. The disk featured 1941 Mutual Broadcasting System coverage of the inauguration of the Quonset Naval Marine Air Station in Rhode Island. The announcer is none other than the great Fred Friendly, who died just last year.
September 24, 1999 As part of our series "Lost & Found Sound," we present an un-narrated story about R. A. Coleman, a black man who recorded the sound of African-American weddings and other events in Memphis during the same period that Sam Phillips was recording those of the white people of the city. Coleman was originally just a photographer, but he began to provide recordings to enhance the memories of couples. He even recorded at funerals. He's remembered by his friends and family.
September 17, 1999 The year long series, Lost and Found Sound, presents the story of Sam Phillips, the man who founded and ran the Memphis Recording Service. Phillips was a rural boy with the dream of capturing songs of poor Southern people on records. He started in radio. Then, in the late 1940's, he opened a studio in Memphis. The sound he captured has helped shape rock and roll and American music ever since. We hear from Phillips, his family, friends, music experts and some of his recording talent, as they recall the years when Phillips came to realize his dream.
September 3, 1999 Lost and Found Sound presents a story about present-day uses of the most ancient of recording technologies: the wax cylinder. On the occasion of this month's release by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis's album of wax cylinder recordings, we hear what it is about wax that appeals to some. For Marsalis it's the authentic sound, which reminds him of the jazz greats of the past. Also featured: Les Paul and the band They Might be Giants. John Flansburgh of the "Giants" learns that to get recorded, he has to stick his head into a brass cone and sing in a very pronounced way.
August 27, 1999 In this latest installment of our Lost and Found Sound series, NPR's Don Gonyea remembers the heyday of powerhouse AM radio. Gonyea grew up in Detroit, where the big station in the 60's and 70's was CKLW. It broadcast from across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario. It was a loud, glitzy noise-making enterprise. Everything was shouted -- even the news. The 50,000-watt giant spewed rock and roll and hyped-news across 28 states and mid-Canada. Gonyea describes the formula that made CKLW and its imitators successful.
August 20, 1999 As part of our series Lost & Found Sound, Quest for Sound Curator Jay Allison introduces us to a collector of old electric fans. We are treated to solo performances of individual old fans, and an orchestra of fans blowing at once, and learn that in days gone by, a good electric fan was a blessing -- and expensive. Some models cost the average American worker two months pay.
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